Name: Paul Boesch
Year Inducted: 2005
Induction Category: Non-Participant

Paul Boesch

Paul Boesch (1912-1989) stands alone in wrestling history. No one else matched his achievements in so many facets of the mat game. From a first-rate, headline wrestler, to an acclaimed writer, to a legendary radio and television announcer, to publicist extraordinaire, to booker, and to promoter, Boesch did so many remarkable things over 55 years that a mere single-page blurb has no chance of describing the vast array of his accomplishments.

Even his ears - great monuments to the art of cauliflowering and the inspiration for his autobiography's title, "Hey, Boy! Where'd You Get Them Ears?" - were world class.

Suffice it to say that this native of New York City was a top-notch athlete and, early on, was promoted to main-event status by one of wrestling's shrewdest promoters, Jack Curley. Then, perhaps encouraged to diversify by a spate of back trouble incurred in his mid-20s, Boesch became one of the first, if not the original, wrestler-turned-radio commentator, even as he also launched a promotional career in Seattle, Washington.

With his adventuresome spirit, Boesch before World War II - was wrestling throughout the Pacific from New Zealand to Australia and the Philippines. Narrowly escaping the invading Japanese armies, he got back to the States in time to join the Army and become one of wrestling's most honored war heroes while slogging through the tough fighting against the Germans in the European theater.

Then, just as it appeared he had somehow gotten his balky back under control, Boesch's fulltime wrestling career was ended by injuries sustained in a nasty, 1947 auto wreck. He recovered sufficiently to engage in a seemingly endless series of "grudge" matches against almost all of the famous villains he and Houston promoter Morris Sigel lured to Texas, even as he manned an award-winning wrestling TV show that lasted nearly 40 years.

When Sigel died in the mid-'60s, Boesch was there to take over the promotion. Barely missing a step as the business slammed forward through the raucous '70s and earthshaking '80s, he kept at it until health concerns forced his retirement in 1987.

As further testimony to his graciousness, Boesch was universally beloved. In his emeritus years, Boesch was a cordial correspondent to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of wrestling personages and fans the world over. His office in Houston was a veritable museum of wrestling history.

His widow, Valerie, helped further perpetuate his memory by publishing a second edition of his autobiography some 15 years after his death. The massive tome represents a careful scrutiny of his years in the business, from his debut as a wrestler in 1932, to his retirement as a promoter in 1987.

Over the years that Boesch was associated with the Houston office but he also helped book wrestling shows across east Texas, from Dallas to San Antonio to Corpus Christi to Galveston, and all points in between. There was an unmistakable stamp of his genius always showing. Perhaps more than any man, Boesch made "Texas Rasslin" a legendary proposition. His influence on professional wrestling cannot be overestimated

- J Michael Kenyon

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